SHELBYVILLE, Ind. — Simon Heys became the first Wilmington College cross country runner to advance to the NCAA Div. III national meet by finishing second in the NCAA Div. III Great Lakes Regional race Saturday.
It may have been cold but Heys, the Wilmington High School graduate, did it in style and with both shoes on his feet. Heys ran near the front the entire race and finished in a second place time of 24:40. His runnerup finish gave him an automatic qualification for nationals. After placing seventh at conference when he ran much of the race with one shoe, Heys had a chip on his shoulder and he took advantage. Heys’ finish also earned all-region honors.
Heys will head to the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship Nov. 20 in Louisville, Ky. where he won Pre-Nationals earlier in the season.
At the regional meet, Wilmington finished with one of the top placements in school history — a 10th place finish with 352 points. Ohio Athletic Conference member John Carroll University won the region title with 62 points.
George Rickett finished second for Wilmington with a personal best time of 26:07. Rickett was the lone personal best on the day. Noah Tobin and Eric Reynolds both ran five seconds off personal best times to solidify the 10th-place finish for the Quakers.
For the Wilmington College women, the Fightin’ Quakers finished with four runners, so they did not meet the requirement to score as a team. Hope College won the regional title with Calvin second and John Carroll third.
Milena Wahl finished first for the Quakers in a 14-second personal best time of 23:31 for a six-kilometer race. This time was good enough to earn top 60 in the race. Savannah Rhodes ran a season-best time by a minute with a time of 25:15. Bella Stevens finished the season with the best performance on the day with a 25:23 finish, more than a minute better than her previous best.